Gardasil Approved as Anal Cancer Vaccine
Federal officials have approved a new weapon against anal cancer. Merck's Gardasil can now be marketed as an anal cancer vaccine for men and women ages 9 to 26, U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials said Wednesday. Clinical data suggest the vaccine, originally approved to prevent cervical, vulvar, and vaginal cancer caused by the human papillomavirus, could also be 78 percent effective in preventing anal cancer associated with four strains of HPV. Both men and women are affected by the disease, but the incidence is highest among men who have sex with men. More than 5,000 people are diagnosed with anal cancer each year, and about 720 are killed by the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. Actress Farrah Fawcett died of anal cancer in 2009 at the age of 62. "Treatment for anal cancer is challenging. The use of Gardasil as a method of prevention is important, as it may result in fewer diagnoses and the subsequent surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that individuals need to endure," Karen Midthun, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told Reuters.
Hangover Cure? Hah. But These Tips May Help
When it comes to hangovers, everyone has a swear-by-it remedy, from bingeing on cheeseburgers and fries (grease supposedly lines the stomach and slows alcohol absorption) to gulping spiked orange juice or a Bloody Mary (hair of the dog). Hundreds of others are free for the taking online, so why not pick one and get moving the day after you've had a few too many?
Because "in terms of anything that's proven to, quote, cure a hangover, there isn't anything," says Michael Fingerhood, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. In 2005, researchers scoured studies as far back as the 1950s that addressed preventing or treating hangovers. They unearthed just eight that were worth a closer look, none of which could convincingly demonstrate success for their hangover tricks (such as taking a supplement of prickly-pear cactus or a yeast-vitamin pill), according to the report published in the British Medical Journal. That doesn't mean you have to be miserable all day, though. Experts say some old standbys will at least take the edge off a hangover and end it a little faster, U.S. News's Kurtis Hiatt reports. [Read more: Hangover Cure? Hah. But These Tips May Help.]
Skip the Eggnog! These Holiday Foods Are Good for You
It's hard to avoid indulging during the holidays. But do you have to? Actually, holiday foods aren't all bad, U.S. News's Megan Johnson reports. Excluding, say, eggnog, fried latkes, and other calorie-laden treats, some things that could land on your plate this season are in fact healthy.
Oysters—which supposedly taste best in the winter months—are an example. Traditionally served in stew on Christmas Eve, the mollusks contain more zinc than any other food. Zinc is a mineral that helps fight off infections and heal wounds, making oysters good for the immune system. They also contain vitamin B12 and iron, required to make red blood cells, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for heart health.
Maybe you have a favorite holiday dish: green bean or sweet potato casserole—or, perhaps, oyster stew. Recipes for these and many other festive dishes usually call for whole milk or cream and butter. But with that slice of pecan pie, made with sugar and eggs, a single celebratory feast could easily max out your daily allowance of calories. Still, you can make lighter, healthier versions with a few improvements. Top green bean casserole with sliced almonds instead of fried onions, and use fat-free cream of mushroom soup instead of the regular kind, suggests Bethany Thayer, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. In her dishes, Thayer uses skim milk and egg whites in lieu of whole milk and whole eggs. [Read more: Skip the Eggnog! These Holiday Foods Are Good for You.]
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